|[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note|
|The Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga), sometimes called Snakebird, Darter, American Darter, or Water Turkey, is a water bird of the warmer parts of the Americas. The word anhinga comes from the Brazilian Tupi language and means devil bird or snake bird.|
It is a dark-plumaged piscivore with a very long neck, and often swims with only the neck above water. When swimming in this style the name Snakebird is apparent, since only the colored neck appears above water the bird looks like a snake ready to strike. They do not have external nares (nostrils) and breathe solely through their epiglottis.
The Anhinga is placed in the darter family, Anhingidae, and is closely related to Indian (Anhinga melanogaster), African (A. rufa), and Australian (A. novaehollandiae) Darters. Like other darters, the Anhinga hunts by spearing fishes and other small prey using its sharp, slender beak.
Distribution and migration
Anhinga species are found all over the world in warm shallow waters. The American Anhinga has been subdivided into two subspecies, A. a. anhinga and A. a. leucogaster, based on their location. A. a. anhinga can be found mainly east of the Andes in South America and also the islands of Trinidad and Tobago. A. a. leucogaster can be found in the southern United States, Mexico, Cuba, and Grenada.
Only birds that do not live in the extreme north and south of their range migrate and do so based on temperature and available sunlight. Anhingas will migrate towards the equator during winter but this range is "determined by the amount of sunshine to warm the chilled birds".
Kettles of anhingas often migrate with other birds and have been described as resembling black paper gliders.
Physical description and taxonomy
The A. anhinga species is a large bird and measures approximately 89 cm in length, with a range of 75–95 cm, with a 1.14 m wingspan. The A. a. anhinga subspecies is larger than A. a. Leucogaster and has "broader buffy tail lips". They weigh on average around 1.22 kg, with a range of 1.04–1.35 kg. The bill is relatively long (about twice the length of the head), sharply pointed and yellow as are the webbed feet.
Most of the male Anhinga's body is a glossy black green with the wings, base of wings, and tail being a glossy black blue. The tip of the tail has white feathers. The back of the head and the neck have elongated feathers that have been described as gray or light purple white. The upper back of the body and wings is spotted or streaked with white.
The female Anhinga is similar to the male Anhinga except that it has a pale gray-buff or light brown head, neck, and upper chest. The lower chest or breast is a chestnut colour and as compared to the male, the female has a more brown back.
The hatchling starts out bald but gains tan down within a few days of hatching. Within two weeks the tan down has been replaced by white down. Three weeks after hatching, the first juvenile feathers appear. Juveniles are mostly brown until first breeding after the second or third winter.
This bird is often mistaken for the Double-crested Cormorant due to its similar size and, although the two species can be differentiated by their tails and bills. The tail of the anhinga is wider and much longer than that of the cormorant. The bill of the anhinga is pointed, while the bill of the cormorant has a hook-tip.
Unlike ducks, the Anhinga is not able to waterproof its feathers using oil produced by the uropygial gland. Consequently, feathers can become waterlogged, making the bird barely buoyant. However, this allows it to dive easily and search for underwater prey, such as fish and amphibians. It can stay down for significant periods.
When necessary, the Anhinga will dry out its wings and feathers, with the resemblance of the semicircular full-spread shape of its group of tail feathers while drying them out, to that of true meleagrine males lending the name "water turkey" to it. It will perch for long periods with its wings spread to allow the drying process, as do cormorants. If it attempts to fly while its wings are wet, it has great difficulty getting off the water and takes off by flapping vigorously while "running" on the water.
Anhinga will often search for food in small groups.
The Anhinga is protected in the US under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1918. The number of individual anhingas has not been estimated but they are considered to be of least concern because of the frequency of their occurrence in their 15,000,000 km2 global range.
In the Pantanal it is uncommon along rivers and around freshwater lakes and ponds.
ramthakur, oscarromulus, Pitoncle, senn, anel, cobra112, kinglove has marked this note useful
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Classic picture of this aptly named but very beautiful bird from Brazil, Peter. You continue to amaze and entertain us with your endless collection of these professional pictures you took in that country.
The pose of the bird is elegance incarnate. The technical excellence of the image is beyond compare.
Thanks and regards.
amazing pose, TFS Ori
Super mooie scherpe opname en vooral zo mooi op die tak
Wat zijn ze prachtig met die glimmende veren
een super plaat
What a long DETAILED note; long as your Anhinga's neck ... Ha! ha! ha!
As you know I've lived in "o meu querido Brasil" and never had these great opportunities to witness the species I'd care to register.
This one is A1.
Mario from Canada with regards.
Très belle attitude du sujet saisie à l'instant décisif dans une belle lumière et sous une bonne profondeur de champ.
A bientôt sur TN pour de nouvelles aventures.
- [2014-05-25 12:32]
what a quality photography here Peter, .. DOF management and expo are remarkable, detail is stunning, and posing is very effective; .. well done mate ..
- [2014-05-25 13:39]
Waaw Peter,this is in the top 5 of your brazilian collection,no doubts!! Truly spectacular the specie and truly magnificent the position and quality,great timing and the best detail and colors,i like it! Have a nice week and thanks,LUCIANO
Ciao Peter, great capture of lovely bird on beautiful blury BG, fine details, superb sharpness, splendid light and wonderful colors, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio
fascinating birds and a well taken foto of it.
thanks for showing and best regards
- [2014-05-26 1:19]
Beautiful Snakebird in striking pose. And a most beautiful subtle colord background.Your series from Brazil seems to be without end. Good for TN!
Ciao Peter. Stunning details for the bird in great action! Perfect DOF beautiful colours.
Excellente photo of the Anhinga with fine POV and framing, you shot the photo
at the birds best pose, with great focus, sharpness, and details, the excellent light
helping for that, TFS
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Excellent photo with good lighting and pose showing off the mottled back and long neck. The whole bird is sharp against a blurred background. Well done.